Alex Inoue

Dead End, Zo's Journey, and more stories

a previous fight scene in the Zo and Dead End series where Zeke fights off mercenaries (now non-cannon aka I cut it)

Posted by on November 15, 2020

“What am I doing here?” Zeke grumbled to himself as he held up binoculars on the factory where his target was working. He was sitting in a stiff metal chair on the balcony of a mostly finished apartment building.

Half a year and she still keeps noticing me when I get near. Now I have to watch her from several blocks away. Any closer and she starts catching me. I’m just glad she is watching out, doing my own job for me…

As he put down the lenses, he sighed and took a drink of water. After putting the cap back on, he noticed a small plume of smoke coming from well beyond the factory, toward the city. It was seemingly unimportant, until he could tell just how close it was and just what was burning.

“Shit. SHIT!” Zeke dropped his water, already off the balcony before it hit the ground.

He thought of his fall, and made sure to rotate his back. A few seconds later, he created a large cushion of air to slow him down. Right as he would hit the ground, the air he held under his body compressed. The shock was rough but he had slowed his fall up to that point and the air he controlled compressed to absorb the shock. If he didn’t have the right position or control, he’d have broken several bones or be dead.

Thankfully no one would think to watch toward the roof of the tall apartment building, as it was a paused construction project while they waited for electricians. This part of town was pretty still in the day, as most movement happened on breaks and at night when shipments came in and out.a

After getting up from his back, he again created pockets of air. This time, they were small bubbles underneath his feet. “Hope I can make it on time…” He whispered right before he took off, nearly disappearing instantly from where he stood, leaving a pair of semi-clean lines along the road where the dust and dirt from the construction had left a few days before.

It took him two minutes to cover about ten blocks safely without hitting anything or anyone. As he got closer, he had to watch for people and make sure no one saw him. Even when his family was in danger, he wouldn’t let the wrong eyes fall onto him. It might be the difference in his family’s lives.

Zeke leaned against the wall to his father’s estate. The brick wouldn’t normally allow him to hear any sounds well, but he knew how thick and what the wall looked like. Using that, he slowly changed the wall around where he pressed his ear to thin, and shaped several feet around in a subtle concave on the other side. It wouldn’t be noticeable to anyone not staring at that piece of wall, or even if they were it would be safe if they were past the garden.

After tuning out the roaring fire from within the house, he didn’t hear screaming like he’d hope. There were several men speaking in both Ingle and Fercian. Ferca likely didn’t know of this attack either. These men were likely hired swords.

Using what he heard, Zeke moved to the nearby corner of the wall, still outside of it, and made a small hole. It would be difficult to see into the corner, there would be shade from the nearby apple tree. His father loved to grow fruits but only apples and berries seemed to do well here. Funny that this hobby might help save his life when his other hobbies might have endangered him today…Zeke shook his head in contempt.

Now that he knew where the men watching the front were, he had to check the back. It was more likely that his family would be safe for now. The fire just started up ten minutes ago but the entire place wasn’t burning. This mean that they were trying to flush them out. It won’t work, and it would be five or ten more minutes before the fire department would arrive. Whoever wanted to find his family would likely torch and run in three more minutes.

He reached the wall on the side of the house guarding the massive pool. It was often too cold all year but for a few months, yet his father still had it installed. What a waste of space, complained Zeke to no one but himself. At least it covers the secret exit. It was the furthest part of the estate grounds, and right on time he found his family underneath the wall. Zeke spoke to them from the small storm drain grate, “Is everyone there? Mother? Father? Anna?”

His father spoke in a strangely cool manner as he answered, “Everyone is here. Those lying rats, the Zalanzs. I’m sure they’re behind this. They didn’t like me acquiring all the major businesses left in this district and they want to take me out. Like I’d let that happen, hah! I’ll build a new estate. It’s nothing to me, small change. They’ll never hurt me or my family. Let them burn all my shit.”

“Stay here. You locked all the doors and set the secret panel to return, right?”

“You think I’m a fool, son?”

“Of course not. I’ll be back. I want to know who they’re working for. I won’t let them attack us again if I can get a hold of them. These men here are as good as dead, but if I’m luck I can find out who’s behind this.”

“Be careful Zeke.”

“I will, Anna. Thank you.”

He got up from the drain and waved them goodbye.

After a short dash along the wall back to the house, he reminded himself…what if they’re not with the Zalanz family…

Time was up. Looking up to the manor, his home, Zeke saw it entirely consumed in flames. They were done looking. Time to hunt each down. There had to be more than three, but less than ten. Too many people would be too difficult to gather for a simple job like this. Too easy to spot ahead of time. There were three outside, all in the front. Two more were standing outside on the back patio as Zeke had reached the far enough to see the back yard. These will be my first two to take out. The others will likely loop back here in a moment. All the easier to hunt…let them come to me. Zeke grinned with excitement.

After clearing the wall, which was just over two meters, Zeke adjusted his air under his feet for a dash just past the man on the right. He had one of the new gun models, an automatic rifle. It would be difficult to fight once he had it drawn. But they were expensive, and the man next to him just had a sword. A melee magic fighter, most likely. His favorite kind of opponent.

Time to take them out before they even see me arrive…I need to prepare for the others and hopefully keep these two from making a sound…Zeke readied himself, preparing to knock them both out instantly with two moves. But right before he dashed, the one swordsman noticed Zeke.

“Hey you!” he shouted, elbow bent to nudge his partner. His elbow never reached. There was only a rush of air and a heavy thud as a black blur took the place of the now fallen rifleman. Before the swordsman could even understand what the blur was, why his friend was on the ground, or why the blur was still a blur, he was out cold a few feet away lying up against the patio door.

Two down…Zeke moved low along the wall of the house until a foot away from the edge of the side of the house. He could hear two more men walking from the front. The other was either still out front or coming around the other side. They knew something was up.

Fas? You there?” Said one of the two.

Yup, Fercian…Zeke noted. He’s looking for one of these guys…

A pistol was pointing around the corner a few feet away, but Zeke was already in the air. There were impressions in the grass but the man holding the gun didn’t think to look up in time. With a grunt of air, the man was knocked out after being landed onto. The other man next to him was ready, though, and fired several icicles with disregard of his fallen comrade.

Zeke reacted quickly with two shears of air, pushing the ice back toward the caster. They flew to above and past the sides of his face. In a panic, the man drew a dagger and charged Zeke. But he easily used the charge to trip the man and knock him out as well.

“That’s my primary method of attack, I know how to defeat it. You weren’t even going that fast…” He muttered to the man he held a foot on, the caster couldn’t even hear him as the blow likely knocked him out and damaged his spine severely. He heard behind him, a moment too late, grass smashed with hurried footsteps and the other man missing cry out.

“You bastard!” A bullet was fired from his pistol, hitting Zeke in the left arm. More were being fired but Zeke pushed air up to alter their path toward the wall, missing him by inches. He thanked his luck the first bullet missed his heart.

“That clip is empty, isn’t it?” Zeke turned around with a manic grin, pain seeming to make his eyes wilder.

Another man was next to him, with a sword and shield and heavier padded armor. “You killed them, didn’t you? Fas and Quill were my best friends!

If there was time to tell him they were alive, he might have done it. But Zeke didn’t feel like letting him know. He had to take out the Andrian next to him. “I hope you can reload before I get there.” He called tauntingly. The Fercian looked at this fellow mercenary, watching his hands as they dropped the clip and reached for another. Like the others before, Zeke charged right into him, hitting him right in the chest with his right shoulder this time instead of both arms. It did the job but put him off balance, back turned to the last mercenary.

Predicting the swing of his sword, Zeke directed air at the Fercian man to push him away just as he sent the Andrian flying. It pushed Zeke away tumbling instead, and he found himself several feet away from the now curled up and unconscious man he had just dashed into.

“I’m gonna cut off your arm first. Then your leg. Then I’m going to cut your head off. You son of a rat! Die like one!” The Fercian also used air like Zeke. He put his shield up to block anything shot at him including the air Zeke sent at him a moment before.

This is going to be annoying…Zeke rolled over to grab the pistol and a full clip from the downed merc next to him. The Fercian was already right above him with his shield pushing right toward Zeke’s face, sword held back near his shoulder ready to swing down or counter. Zeke threw a fist of grass using his left hand, causing more blood to flow from his wound and pain to fill his head. He rolled to his right, away from the shield and far away from the readied sword. The moment of distraction bought him time to stand back up and take a shot with the gun in his right hand, left arm weakly held against his body..

But the Fercian was ready, and rolled down following his push downward with the buckler and wall of air. The bullet grazed his back instead of hitting his chest from the side. He got up too quickly for Zeke to find a smart shot and put his shield up again. Any bullets fired now would be a waste. The man walked slowly toward him while channeling air along his shield. Even though it was only a buckler, the air around it was more than enough to guard his body. Bullets from this gun wouldn’t have enough power to push past that. A heavy sword or a bigger bullet might. Or…

Zeke dashed toward the patio and shoved the pistol into his pants. It was uncomfortable but better than throwing away or holding it in his left hand. He reached down for the swordsman lying against the door’s blade. It was had a nice rubber grip. It was new, just like their other weapons. These guys are paid well. The Zalanz family don’t have this kind of money…

A sword won’t save you. Your arm is hurt and you’re hardly armored.

I hear sirens, don’t you think you should get out of here?

The Fercian stopped to listen. The firemen were on their way. He knew things had to wrap up one way or another. He chose to walk toward Zeke. “You’ll die first. Rat.

A few paces closer and Zeke went to guard his face, bent over against the wall with his sword out to parry a blow. The Fercian took it as an opening and swung his sword lateral, assuming it’d go right past the parry stance that Zeke poorly held kneeling down. But instead of hitting him, there was a hot and painful weight. Zeke had created a strong bubble of air around him, and had cut two lines across the wall right above him while the Fercian listened for sirens. The burning wall fell right onto the man and left Zeke safe.

The sirens stopped getting louder, signalling that they had arrived. There was shouting and soon Zeke heard water being blasted onto the front yard and the house. “I bet you didn’t die from that, you tough rat.” He threw the sword and pistol back onto the ground. Holding that blade out was just a precaution against the wall, but it was a good thing it fell so cleanly. Good thing I’ve cut trees before…he thought to himself with a sigh of relief.

He shook his hands a bit, felt up the hole in his left upper arm, and sighed. Bullets hurt like hell…

A fireman came running around the side of the manor. “Are you alright? What happened?”

What a pain…he thought as he answered, “My home was attacked by these men. I need access to your long distance communicator. It can call your HQ, right?”

“Yes, but we can’t let anyone use that. It’s there to direct us to new fires.”

Zeke showed his ID, which he pulled from his back pocket. “I’m part of the IIB. I need to contact them but I don’t have a communicator on me right now. Please let me to your truck so I can use yours. Your HQ should be able to call my HQ.”

“Oh, sorry sir. No problem. Did everyone make it out?”

Zeke paused for a moment, back just to the man as he had begun to walk past him toward the truck. “No. I watched my family die. These men attacked us and lit my house on fire to kill me too. Please let my HQ take care of things once they arrive. Just focus on putting the fire out before it spreads across the grass.”

“Yes, sir. I’m…I’m sorry to hear your loss. I wish we could have come sooner. We rushed over as fast as we could.”

“It’s fine.” Zeke turned back to put his right hand on the man’s shoulder. “These men aren’t dead. Probably. They will serve their time for what they did. Make sure to gather them before they burn like my family. There’s no need for more death.”

“How many are there?”

“Six men, all who are out back here. One is buried under some rubble. He probably survived though, he had a lot of armor. They’re all unconscious or unable to move, but bring several men just in case they try to move. We’ll take care of them once they’re in a hospital. Don’t worry, we’ll have people sent to guard them soon, we might beat them to their beds, hah…”

“I see. Thank you. We’ll take them out front and get them in an ambulance. Our truck is just out front if you want to use our communicator. It only goes to HQ so there’s no code.”


After Zeke had walked a few meters away, the fireman called out, “Do you need to go to the hospital too? You look injured…”

“No, I’ll be fine. There are more important things to do. I need to go back to my job anyway.” He called back as he walked up toward the truck.

“Job?” The fireman said quietly, confused.

After fixing his hobble and shaking out the fight nerves, Zeke picked up his pace and soon was holding the receiver up to his ear.

“HQ here, did something happen at the Estate?”

“Hello HQ, this is Zeke Zepyst. I’m with IIB, and I’d like you to pass a message to my HQ. You should be able to contact them right after I hang up…do you have a pen ready?”

“Y-yes, I’m ready.”

“Tell them that I left White Rabbit. My home was attacked and on fire. They did not find the pool. I’m heading back to White Rabbit. I need light aid at my post…did you get all that? Please read it back so I can be sure.”

“Sure thing.”

After Zeke confirmed everything, he hung up and rolled his arms around. It was painful, but he had to act like he wasn’t bleeding. His black leather jacket helped keep the bleeding down as it clung to his arms. He liked this jacket, it’d been his favorite since school ten years ago. His arms were a bit larger now but it was just barely big enough to fit into still. The bullet was still in his arm…it stopped maybe an inch in. It likely reached bone and stopped. Damn that’s probably why it hurts so much. My bone is probably fractured…Zeke clenched his teeth for a moment as he thought about it. He grabbed a roll of thin cloth useful for patching injuries short term and wound it around the wound. It’d stand out but no one would see him from here to his post anyway. He bit it off, tucked the extra bit under the wrapping, put the roll away inside his pants pocket, and disappeared with a swift dash.